New rules for the four million employees who benefit from meal vouchers. Since August 18, with this means of payment, it is now possible to buy something other than so-called “immediately consumable” products. Behind this somewhat vague qualifier hides a list of foods that you are authorized to pay for with your restaurant vouchers when you shop in a supermarket. This is, for example, a sandwich, a salad, dairy products but also frozen or reheated dishes as well as fruits and vegetables.
But for nearly a fortnight, products “not directly consumable” such as a bag of rice and pasta, eggs or even unprocessed meat and fish have entered the list. A change that the legislator – in this case the Senate behind the amendment – authorized in order to improve the purchasing power of the French. “It’s a pretext, annoys Charly Belisson, who represents Umih, Union of trades and hotel industries, within the National Commission for Restaurant Vouchers (CNTR), opposed to this development. Where is the purchasing power in this text? It is rather a question of satisfying the lobbying of large retailers. It’s a real stab in the back. We have worked on a charter for years with large retailers to define the products acceptable by the restaurant voucher and an amendment erases everything. »
The increase in the ceiling must still be validated
It must be said that for restaurateurs, this expansion could be synonymous with a reduction in meal vouchers spent in their establishment. “We contacted Bruno Le Maire’s cabinet to reconsider this amendment,” continues the restaurateur. Despite our interventions, we were told that he could do nothing. The text is voted. Small consolation for restaurateurs, this extension to products “not directly consumable” is limited in time. It is authorized until December 31, 2023.
Another change, the daily ceiling for the use of restaurant vouchers, that is to say the maximum amount that an employee can pay per day with restaurant vouchers, should increase. It was a verbal promise from Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy. Currently at 19 euros, it had already doubled during the pandemic to reach 38 euros, before returning to its initial ceiling on July 1. This increase in the ceiling then had two objectives: to liquidate more quickly the stock of meal vouchers – whose lifespan is limited – accumulated by employees because of health restrictions. But also boost consumption in restaurants that had suffered from confinement. If this measure does not increase the purchasing power of employees, it allows them to pay more easily for their meals with meal vouchers while prices, in particular of food products, are soaring.
The new ceiling proposed by the Bercy tenant will this time be 25 euros. The measure should be validated at the beginning of September during a meeting of the National Commission for restaurant vouchers. “Even if we had wanted more, I don’t think there will be any opposition,” said Charly Belisson. This new limit should then come into force on October 1st. On this date, each day, an employee will therefore be able to pay for their meal in meal vouchers up to 25 euros instead of 19 euros today.